Boston Children's Hospital Human Neuron Core


Core Facility: Human Neuron Core
Institute: Boston Children's Hospital
Location: Boston, MA, USA

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Established in 2015 at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), the Human Neuron Core (HNC) is an institution-supported core facility that provides unique access to patient samples, expertise in stem cell-derived neuronal modeling, and state-of-the-art phenotyping equipment to facilitate translation of basic research findings into treatments for neurological disorders. In-house experts are available to develop models in-a-dish utilizing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and in vitro differentiation technologies, help set up assays to discover cellular phenotypes, and further optimize assays for small molecule screens. The HNC specializes in differentiating iPSCs into various neuronal subtypes and conducts phenotypic screens, including morphological, functional/network firing, and gene expression readouts.

The HNC facility offers patient consent and sample procurement (blood/fibroblasts), neuron differentiation services (cortical, spinal motor, sensory), phenotyping services (high content imaging, multi-electrode array, targeted whole transcriptome sequencing), and equipment access.

Free training is offered for equipment use and access to equipment is available at a pay-per-use basis, including imaging platforms and robotic liquid handlers. Training for the following equipment is available: Axion Maestro, ThermoFisher ArrayScan XTI, Molecular Devices IXM-C, Sartorius IncuCyte S3, Agilent Bravo Benchcel, Formulatrix Mantis, and Integra Viaflo.

The facility is a non-profit organization that works with both academic and industry users worldwide. We have a flexible fee structure to carry out fee-for-service work, collaborations, or sponsored research. Users can pick and choose which services they would like to utilize and participate as much or as little as they want for each project. For new users, we recommend an initial free consultation to discuss experimental plan and timeline. For the very first experimental planning, it would take 1–2 months for small/straight-forward projects and 3–6 months for large/complex projects. Once a core agreement has been executed, there is a lead time of 1 month to start the project.

The director of BCH’s Human Neuron Core is Mustafa Sahin, MD, PhD. The assistant directors focus on various services: Ivy Pin-Fang Chen, PhD, human neuron differentiation; Elizabeth Buttermore, PhD, neuron phenotyping; and Lee Barrett, PhD, ARCS, assay development and drug screening. There are number of research assistants and core alumni affiliated with HNC, as listed on the HNC website.


BCH Stem Cell Core Facility Profile

High content imaging equipment (back left: Molecular Device IXM-c; front right: ThermoFisher ArrayScan XTI) and robotic plate handler (front left) for automated fluorescence-based image analysis (credit: BCH)

BCH Stem Cell Core Facility Profile

Hamamatsu FDSS7000EX functional drug screening system for high-speed fluorescence/luminescence signal detection in whole wells (credit: BCH)

BCH Stem Cell Core Facility Profile

Axion Maestro Original multi-electrode array (MEA) system for measurements of spontaneous/stimulated electrophysiological features from network firing (credit: BCH)

BCH Stem Cell Core Facility Profile
Human iPSC-derived neurons (credit: BCH)


Profile submitted by: Ivy Pin-Fang Chen
Page last updated: October 31, 2019